The Tipped Scale

August 22, 2013

Keeping things in balance is difficult. At times we have all felt like we're adjusting and readjusting the time and effort we're spending on certain aspects of our lives in an effort to keep things in check.

But Bipolar Disorder can hinder that ability to keep things in balance. In fact, those of us with some form of Bipolar may not even know what true "balance" feels like. For us, the scale is always tipped one way or the other.

As the disorder suggests, there are two poles of me: depression and mania. As a BD2, I usually gravitate toward depression, but I have plenty of mini spells of hypomania too.  These fluctuations in mood not only alter my feelings, they alter the choices that I make. If I'm not careful, they can affect the people who are the most important to me. So how is it that even knowing such consequences exist, I still allow my scale to tip?

An example. Sometimes my energies are so devoted to composing my own music that I forget to eat. I don't want to go to sleep. And I can't concentrate to do necessary routine things like clean the house or pay the bills. My son, patient as he is, will eventually cry out, "Mom, could you PLEASE stop playing piano?" For this I am ashamed, yet I can't explain the magnetic force that draws me back to the keys the very next day.

Then sometimes my focus at home is completely dedicated to doing school work (I'm a teacher). While this may seem like valuable time well spent, when it conflicts with recreational time I could be spending with my 16 year old son, the cost of missing my son far outweighs the gains I make with my school work. I know this yet, mentally, I am unable to shift from school-mode to parent-mode sometimes. My relationship with my son may suffer on days like this. Again, I am ashamed to admit this.

Here is a list of things that ebb and flow on my life scale: working on my novel (I've got 53 pages but just can't get to #54), running with some sort of routine (I had a half-marathon in sight months ago...missed that one), eating healthfully (which involves shopping the same way), playing word games on my ipad (I could spend an entire day doing this), becoming a better cook (a goal of mine), completing the house projects that have loomed overhead for years, and writing on my blog (ahem, here I am).  And the list goes on.

So mentally, I know when my focus is adrift, I feel it, I hear my son say it, I see the consequences of it, yet somehow, I am unable to change the course. There are times, many times, that my life is out of balance and I yearn for that stability. But for now, I suppose, I am just a tipped scale.

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